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William York MacGregor


1855 - 1923

Artist. Born in Finnart (on Loch Long, Argyll and Bute), the son of a ship-yard owner, MacGregor was brought up in Glasgow. He trained at the Glasgow School of Art with James Paterson (1854 - 1932) and the pair became firm friends. They painted together from 1877 on the East Coast of Scotland at St. Andrews, Stonehaven and Nairn, practising a form of plein-air painting, whereby real, rather than idealised, scenes were captured outdoors with importance given to the portrayal of light.

MacGregor completed his training at the Slade School of Art in London, before returning to his native city where he set up his home and studio at 134 Bath Street. There an influential group of artists known as the 'Glasgow Boys' met, including the likes of George Henry (1858 - 1943), E.A. Walton (1860 - 1922), James Guthrie (1859 - 1930) and John Lavery (1856 - 1941), with MacGregor as their leader. The group adopted the realism of French painting of the time and their work was very popular, yet they were rejected by the establishment in the form of the Royal Scottish Academy.

His most notable work is perhaps the still-life The Vegetable Stall (1884), which is regarded as one of the best Scottish paintings of its time and is now on display in the National Gallery in Edinburgh. His work Crail (1883) hangs in the Smith Art Gallery & Museum (Stirling).

In his latter years MacGregor lived in Bridge of Allen and is buried at Logie Old Church nearby.


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